05:47 am
25 December 2017

The Role of Social Media Influencers

The Role of Social Media Influencers

The marketing tool of using high-profile athletes to sell sports cars has become passé in the new digital shopping era. Today, the celebrity salesperson is not a celebrity in the traditional sense. Brands and businesses are focusing on digital media influencers and are putting their products into the Internet’s hands seeking endorsements that will more directly influence consumers.

For advertisers, social media offers instant gratification. Consumers’ Twitter feeds make traditional network news coverage archaic before stories ever hit their Google Alerts. For a product or brand, the Internet creates a personalized presence, captivating consumers and delivering a loyal following, which ultimately translates into sales.

Why does this work? Social media influencers are candid and seem to genuinely like or dislike a brand, and they are happy to offera multitude of reasons why they do or don’t. This awareness-building, loyalty-inducing candor is the reason companies are seeking out social media influencer to support their brand or business and make that all-important impact on consumer spending habits.

Why Social Media Influencers Should Be On Your Radar

Anyone in marketing will tell you that your product or service is really only as good as its last recommendation. Whether it is a blogger, a YouTube celebrity or just a consumer who has a significant social media following, buy-in from a social media influencer can have an extremely positive chain reaction that can take a brand from being virtually unknown to being the most popular item in the Kardashians sisters’ handbag.

Brands looking to take their product to the next level of consumer awareness partner with social media influencers whose style, following and philosophy are aligned with a particular market. For example, a beauty brand that wants to increase its own following and sales or perhaps launch a new collection might collaborate with a top beauty blogger with traction among the brand’s targeted demographics to review the product and give tips on how to use it.

In most cases, the beauty company will send the blogger samples to try, offer interviews with spokespeople or even invite the blogger to attend press events. This style of working with social media influencers cultivates a relationship between the blogger and the brand, which advertisers hope will translate into a positive relationship between brand and consumer. At Pacific Place, a premier vertical urban shopping center in Seattle, the Madison Marquette marketing team designed a plan to engage and capture the attention of social media mavens, which was used to cultivate and nurture a relationship between the center and its customers. Pacific Place regularly engages with a well-known blogger, Sarah Butler, and invited her to do an Instagram takeover. Butler is a Seattle-based digital strategist and fashion stylist known for collaborating with a multitude of brands such as InStyle Magazine, Rebecca Minkoff, Sam Edelman, Bluefly, Free People, Piperlime, H&M, Everlane, and SAKS Fifth Avenue. During New York Fashion Week, Butler became the fashion eyes and ears for Pacific Place by taking over the center’s Instagram page. Butler posted images and trends to Pacific Place’s Instagram, so that the center’s customers were also able to experience a front row seat to the runways.

Create Consumer Conversation Via Re-posting 

Courting social media influencers to “like” a brand – and tell all of their followers why they should too – is only a small piece of this marketing strategy. Once a relationship is established between your business and a social media influencer, it is time to “pay it forward.” Social media influencers thrive on companies re-tweeting and re-postingtheir content. This demonstrates support for the influencer, who is also building a brand, and it bridges the gap between the influencer’s followers and your company. In the end, it is all about what the influencer says is “cool,” and if you align your brand with that level of coolness, your brand will become intertwine with content that is currently trending. Earlier this year, a social media influencer at Glen Eagle Square, an outdoor shopping destination in the Philadelphia suburbs, posted a photo of an Alex and Ani necklace she bought at one of the center’s boutiques. By employing a clever use of hashtags, the official Instagram page of Alex and Anire grammed the photo, culminating in over 13,000 likes. 

Uptick in Local, Organic Marketing 

Social media influencers are really the digital version of “word-of-mouth” marketing. Madison Marquette encourages their properties to create innovative social media promotions and partnerships to generate a local, organic presence in the community. Customers want to connect to brands, and by tapping into a local blogger and his or her following, social media can literally bring foot traffic to the property and retailer. For example, Christine Bibbo Herraka nycpretty was hired by SELF Magazine to attend the opening party for Athleta at Marketfair, an enclosed specialty center in Princeton, NJ, managed by Madison Marquette. Christine received an outfit and did an on location photo shoot. She posted to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter during the event, tagging MarketFair in every post, and driving like-minded customers to the center to celebrate the addition of the highly anticipated retailer.

Social media influencers are vital to the viral success of brands and retailers – they have substantial followings and a loud voice amongst consumers. A blogger has the uncanny ability to be an authority on anything she is writing about. Knowing these facts, brands are utilizing social media influencers to create added value for their consumer awareness strategies and sales goals. Incorporating the influencer into marketing campaigns will give you an insider’s view into what shapes the market and what drivesviral conversations.

Posts that strengthen a brand’s integrity aim to establish the product or business as a leader within its marketing sector and throughout the community in which it serves. Two examples where social media marketing garnered significant community attention are Pizza Meet at Main Street Garden in Dallas, Texas and InstaMeet in Austin, Texas.  For Pizza Meet, the number of likes on the #PizzaMeetDFW hashtag was 15,024 and the total number of followers of all participants was 194,690. The Austin InstaMeet recently engaged 132K, while its impressions were at 4.8 million.